In this episode, we are exploring what the year 2022 will look like in the youth sector in Europe and what initiatives are planned by the European Commission and the Council of Europe.

Show Notes

The year 2022 is full of new initiatives in the youth sector: the European Year of Youth, announced by the European Commission,  the Council of Europe's campaign Democracy Here, Democracy Now and the 50th anniversary of the youth sector in the Council of Europe. In this episode, we are discussing these initiatives with Antje Rothemund, the Head of the Youth Department in the Council of Europe and Ioannis Malekos, the Head of Unit for Youth, Volunteer Solidarity and Traineeships Office at the Directorate  General of Education, Youth, Sport and Culture at the European Commission. We are also trying to see what role the EU-Council of Europe Youth Partnership will play within these initiatives.

Hosts: Dariusz Grzemny and Clotilde Talleu

European Youth Portal - European Year of Youth
Council of Europe - Democracy here. Democracy now. Youth campaign for revitalising democracy

What is UNDER 30'?

Welcome to UNDER 30, the podcast series by the EU-Council of Europe youth partnership that brings research results, explores trends in young people's lives and themes relevant for youth policy and practice.

The EU-CoE youth partnership is a co-operation programme between the European Commission and the Council of Europe in the field of youth, created in 1998, connecting youth research, policy and practice.

Antje: Democracy needs democrats.

Europe needs Europeans and human rights need human rights defenders and all this
democracy, European cooperation, human rights protection can only work if the
citizens believe in it because it matters to them and because it changes their lives.

Ioannis: We hope and expect young people to take advantage of the various opportunities, including the actions
and activities in such a way that they feel supported and empowered by Europe and by our Year of Youth.

We also expect them to come forward and express their opinions,
views, hopes, and ideas regarding the Europe today and in the future.

Dariusz: These were the messages from Antje Rothemund from the Council of Europe and Ioannis Malekos from
the European Commission for this year, a year full of new initiatives and activities in the field of youth.

In this episode we are discussing what is planned by both institutions, what will happen in the European Year of
Youth and also on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the youth sector in the Council of Europe and how the
youth partnership would contribute to them and what will be the role of youth partnership within those initiatives.

My name is Dariusz Grzemny and together with Clotilde Talleu from the youth
partnership we would like to invite you to listen to this episode of UNDER 30 podcast.

Clotilde: Welcome to the next episode of our podcast.

I'm Clotilde Talleu , I'm the manager of the youth partnership.

And today with our two guests Antje Rothemund and Ioannis Malekos who will discuss European youth policies.

What are the plans of the European Commission and the Council of Europe for young people and the youth
sector in 2022, what are their priorities this year, and also how the youth partnership will support them.

So Ioannis and Antje, could you please, in a couple of words, introduce yourself.


I'm Antje Rothemund, hello out there.

I'm the Head of the Youth Department in the Council of Europe, and in charge of our instruments
there, like the European Youth Foundation, the European Youth Centers, the intergovernmental
corporation, and also the youth partnership with our partners in the European Commission.

Ioannis: Hello.

I'm Ioannis Malekos, I'm the Head of Unit for Youth, Volunteer Solidarity and Traineeships Office
at the Directorate General of Education, Youth, Sport and Culture at the European Commission.

Dariusz: We have talked in our podcast quite a bit about the youth policy and the
strategies for the youth sector, both in the Council of Europe and also the European Union.

But if you can, Antje and Ioannis, say really in a few words, what are the main highlights?

What are the important things in the youth strategies that will
be translated into initiatives, activities of both institutions.

So what are these strategies about, what is important for us
to know for the future of the youth sector, especially in 2022.

Antje: Well, I mean, first of all, the Council of Europe is an organization representing at the
moment 47 member states, in the youth sector we work with 50, and we are international organization.

We cannot replace what should be done on national level in terms of youth work,
youth policy and youth research, but we can only add on a European dimension.

We can coordinate and can also inspire and innovate youth policy and youth work in Europe.

So, generally spoken, our youth strategy of the Council of Europe is not aimed
to all young people in Europe, but it is more aimed to those people who work with
young people, whether this is in civil society, in youth services or in governments.

Our main aim is, and that's really very challenging and it's to engage young people with the values
of our organization, make them advocates of democracy and of human rights, and also the rule of law.

We do this with our education and training activities in our European
youth centers in Strasburg and Budapest, where we train multipliers.

We do this by supporting youth led projects with financial support from
our European Youth Foundation and chiefly also through walking the talk.

We're practicing in our organization co-management, which means that representatives of youth
ministries in member states and youth representatives together decide on our priorities and programs.

So we also try to show, by the way we work, how one can involve young people, and make participation real.

And of course, one important instrument of our work is also the Youth Partnership with the European
Commission, where we are trying to bring together the common objectives of our organizations.

More concretely, we will work on implementing our youth sector strategy 2030 with capacity building
measures, with civil society support, through youth policy development and standards settings.

So we try to develop new standards, quality standards also for youth policy and youth work.

And we work according to four big priorities, which are part
of our strategy that also reflect the aims of our organization.

And I'd just like to mention the four priorities of our youth strategy because they are revitalizing pluralist
democracy, giving young people access to their rights, to their human rights, to their social rights.

Also living together in peaceful and inclusive societies, and finally youth work,
which is very important area also in our cooperation with the European Commission.

Dariusz: Thank you, Antje.

These are very big aims.

We will talk a little bit later on how they will be translated
into activities that will be organized by the Council of Europe.

Ioannis, what about the European Union youth strategy.

How is it different from the Council of Europe and what are the
main objectives of the youth strategy in the European Union?

Ioannis: Well, let me start by saying that the European Year of Youth
is the most obvious EU priority in the youth sector of this year.

I think that the President von der Leyen made one thing very clear in her State of the Union
address when she announced that 2022 would be the Year of Youth, namely the 2022 will be a year
dedicated to our young generation that has sacrificed the most during the COVID-19 pandemic.

These sets the context and the spirit of the year.

It is a time to listen, to involve and to empower youth.

Hopefully this year will bring a period of recovery from the pandemic.

Moving into that direction, young people and youth civil society organisations need to find Europe
that is ready to stand by them with new tools and mechanisms for cooperation and communication
for and between young people for a generation of citizens, with new characteristics and interests.

A second priority is the implementation of the EU youth strategy under its three pillars -engage
connect, empower- the EU, created a framework for youth policy corporation for years to come.

These translate into stronger youth participation in democratic life, supporting social and civic
engagement and ensuring that all young people have the necessary resources to take part in society.

The EU youth strategy does not operate in a vacuum.

Its aims are backed by the EU youth programs that we all know and that have proved to be very successful.

Erasmus plus, which now also includes DiscoverEU and the European
Solidarity Corpse, which now comprises of humanitarian aid strand as well.

Coming to my third priority, let's not forget what we call horizontal priorities, which form
an integral part of our programs and initiatives in which young people play a pivotal role.

I am thinking of the European green deal, the digital transformation
participation in democratic life and last but not least inclusion and diversity.

Dariusz: Thank you, Ioannis.

Okay, now let's talk details a little bit.

How these priorities that you both mentioned will be translated into
concrete activities because, okay, we will have the European Year of Youth.

What would be the objectives of the European Year of Youth?

And if you can tell us a little bit is there anything planned to be organized?

Ioannis: Well, if I would have to answer in one sentence, with this European Year
of Youth Europe is striving to give young people more and better opportunities for
the future after a period of time, that has been particularly difficult for them.

Another aim is to encourage young people, especially those with fewer opportunities
to acquire relevant knowledge and competencies, to become active and engaged citizens.

And third aim is to build capacity for youth participation among young people and
among all stakeholders, the youth organizations who work to represent their interest.

Finally, the year should encourage bringing a youth perspective into policymaking across all policy areas and levels.

Therefore, at EU level, we are busy making sure that initiatives and activities
from across the Commission will contribute to the objectives of the year.

Dariusz: Great.

Thank you, Ioannis.

So, I will continue with you a little bit.

Let's explore this year, if possible.

What would be the highlights of this year?

Are there any activities already planned on European level or national level?

It's just to give our listeners concrete information what is planned.

Ioannis: Firstly, we have done our best to focus the European Year
of Youth on issues that young people told us matter most to them.

Therefore, we are planning events, activities, and deliverables in eight policy areas, namely learning
mobility, employment and inclusion, policy dialogue and youth participation, sustainability and
the green dimension, digitalization, culture, self and wellbeing, and finally youth in the world.

In January, we launched the webpage for the year, which you will find on the European Youth Portal.

There on the activities map, we are presenting a set of activities throughout the year.

Not just our activities.

I would like to take this opportunity to urge those who are listening to this podcast
and who plan youth events this year to please upload your activities onto the Portal.

From the Commission side and then each policy area, there is a flagship
initiative expected to be launched during the European Year of Youth.

Under employment and inclusion, I would like to make a specific mention of the ALMA initiative.

ALMA stands for aim, learn, master, achieve.

Under the policy area of participation and dialogue, I would like to mention that
every commissioner will organize direct dialogue with a group of young people.

These young people will come to Brussels to express their views and ideas on the various policy areas.

Of course, other topics will also be addressed throughout the year.

The scope of the decision for the year has been kept as broad
as possible as many policies are of relevance to young people.

This also reflects the cross-sector nature of the year.

And the each policy area of the European year of youth webpage, we will gradually publish all the policy initiatives and
strategies that the European Commission and the European Parliament are putting forward for the benefit of young people.

Currently we have around 25 such initiatives, but we expect many more to come.

One of the main aspects for the.

Is that it is characterized by a strong co-creation process, both for the design as for the implementation.

From the outset, the Commission has been actively seeking the involvement of young people, stakeholders
active in the field of youth, national coordinators in EU member states, the Erasmus plus national
agencies, Creative Europe desks, as well as other EU institutions like the European Parliament.

For example, a crucial role in the year will be played by national coordinators who have
recently been appointed and who will be responsible for the year's activities at national level.

The name of these national coordinators have been published on the website as well.

And I encourage all youth organizations to reach out to them.

Another feature for this co-creation process is the stakeholders group, which contains a
very broad and diverse cross section of around 200 representatives from youth organizations.

who meet on a regular basis function as a kind of soundboard for the year's events and activities.

Last but not least, activities are also planned in cooperation with the current French and
the upcoming Czech presidencies of the Council of the EU, as well as with our international
partners, like of course, the Council of Europe, United Nations, OECD in others.

Dariusz: Okay.

a lot of things.

I am not even able to do repeat all of them, but I guess your remark regarding the European Youth
Portal is very important where you can find all the information, including the names of national
coordinators of the campaign, which I think it's important when we talk about organizing an event

within the year on national level and also the possibility of adding your activities, which you
do on your local, regional or national level that can be a part of the European Year of Youth.

What about the Council of Europe, Antje.

50th anniversary.

That's a big thing.

It's 50 years of youth sector in the Council of Europe.

There is a campaign coming.

If you can say a few words about what is planned for this year within the youth sector of the Council of Europe.

Antje: Yes.

That's right.

2022 is the 50th anniversary of our European Youth Center, our European
Youth Foundation, and also the co-management governing structure.

So we have all the reason to celebrate because it's a five decades of
involving young people in European policies and in European cooperation.

And for that occasion, our co-managed bodies, so whether the governments and the young people are
discussing together, what should we do together have decided to launch a campaign, to look in the future,
rather than dwelling in the past of the last 50 years to see how do we go and where do we go next?

And, for that purpose, we are launching a campaign, which is aimed to
revitalize democracy because young people say democracy is suffering.

There are many deficits or many weak points in democracy, and
there are also many strong points that we would like to see more.

And this campaign will be not very long.

It's just six months.

It will start in March.

It will end in October and it's called Democracy Here Democracy Now.

And that means basically democracy anywhere, everywhere, but also democracy anytime.

Wherever you are, you should have access to democratic rights.

You should have access to democratic standards and it should be promoted by all generations.

Not only by young people.

And I think young people are very good in reminding adults, very often of their duties and that's very good.

Now, what are we going to do there?

I said it's relatively short and of course we are building on what we know
how to do best, namely activate our partners in promoting a certain subject.

And, the key themes of this campaign will be of course, democracy, but also in more detail, equality,
youth participation, digitalization, access to rights, human rights, and we will have thematic action
months, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, this year where we want to have a

lot of activities on national level, where we also invite like for the European Year of Youth, we invite
participation our partners on national level to contribute with activities on local and national level.

And we have also launched a specific call of the European Youth
Foundation for this purpose where we dropped all deadlines.

So, the youth organisations can apply for pilot projects and international
activities now, if they want to participate with their project in the campaign.

We also have planned flagship, international, multicultural event in summer.

It will take place from 27th of June to 2nd of July in Strasbourg
in France, where the Council of Europe has its headquarters.

And it's called the Democracy Youth Festival where we bring together young people from
all our member states to on one hand, celebrate democracy, and on the other hand also
discuss what they expect from decision-makers and from institutions in the future.

Dariusz: Okay.

Thank you.

So there's a lot of things to expect.

Again, very different topics, which are relevant for the lives of young people nowadays in Europe,
happening both on national level within the campaign, but also on European level, the festival that you
mentioned, I guess there will be other activities as well, but we are not maybe going to reveal everything.

Let's surprise people as well.

So yes, Antje.

Congratulations on the 50th anniversary and hopefully many more years to come in the sector of the Council of Europe.

Dariusz: We move to the institutional expectations.

So what are the institutional expectations from the youth sector?

If you can be very short on that.

And also, we would like to ask you for, based on what you said already, and also on the institutional expectations,
we would like to hear from you a message that you have, that you would like to share for the youth field for 2022.

Ioannis: Let me, first of all, highlight that the EU strong commitment towards youth is clearly illustrated by
the specific budget reinforcements in the EU programs, creating more opportunities for young people, including
boosting actions, supporting the active participation of young people in youth civil society organizations.

At the same time, I would like to mention the survey we had in the lead-up to the European
Year of Youth, in which we asked young people, which issues were closest to their hearts.

The five first topics proposed by them were education and training, climate change and
environment, health, and specifically mental health, inclusive society and employment.

We are there for trying to create a European Year of Youth that makes
sure the topics that young people care most about take central stage.

So if you ask me what are the institutional expectations from young people I would say that we hope
and expect young people to take advantage of the various opportunities, including the actions and
activities in such a way that they feel supported and empowered by Europe and by our Year of Youth.

We also expect them to come forward and express their opinions,
views, hopes, and ideas regarding the Europe today and in the future.

It is about convincing young people that Europe belongs to them and their actions can shape the future.

Dariusz: Thank you.

So that's the message.

I'd say that it's a very nice message.

Europe belongs to young people and they can shape the future of Europe.

Antje what about the institutional expectations in the Council of Europe?

And what's your message.

Antje: Well, thank you very much for the congratulations to the 50th anniversary of the youth sector.

And I believe this is congratulations that go to everybody who have participated over these years in shaping this
common work based on trust, on sustained commitment, on participation on, collaboration, and it's a common achievement.

And I'd like to add that we want to build on that by also creating an alumni of the Council of Europe youth sector,
where we bring together people who feel that the work that is being done there has marked up biographies and want
to give back something also to young people in the future, so that this can continue also for future generations.

Now, about the message, I think the first message is actually addressed
not to young people, but more to decision-makers and to governments.

Making sure that in the rescue packages that are now being packed and the relief packages after the pandemic,
that young people get a very prominent share, that they are not only being brought back into schools and
universities to learn, but also that their free time, meaningful leisure time, yotuh work will be reactivated.

And that youth work will become a very.

solid part of the support that governments will give to the recovery of the society after the pandemic.

Secondly, I think the message is in the year of our campaign Democracy
Here, Democracy Now, the message is democracy needs democrats.

Europe needs Europeans and human rights need human rights defenders and all this democracy, European
cooperation, human rights protection can only work if the citizens believe in it because it matters
to them and because it changes their lives and this is what we would like to do also with our
work, contribute to change the lives of Europeans, young people and all Europeans to the better.

Dariusz: Thank you.

We have two very strong messages for the upcoming year coming from the Council of Europe and the European
Union, somehow very similar in nature, maybe differently worded, which is I think very good because I think the
last thing I would like you to talk about is cooperation between the Council of Europe and the European Union.

There is a history of cooperation, namely the youth partnership.

How this corporation is going to develop, what is planned and what kind of directions
when it comes to this corporation between the Council of Europe and the European Union

Antje: First of all, I think it's important to recall what is the whole.

European cooperation about, and both our institutions, the European Union and the Council of Europe peace projects.

I mean, both institutions were created also to maintain peace and uphold peace in Europe.

So our work really is to ensure that this more than 7 decades of peace in Europe will really continue.

The youth partnership is going to celebrate.

It's also an anniversary next year.

So we will have a silver wedding or a silver jubilee of 25 years of the youth partnership.

And it's a very excellent example of cooperation between our two institutions, which
are the two leading European institution when it comes to supporting young people.

We are not the same, but we have a lot of same interests.

So where the Council of Europe is really focusing also on advising governments in standard developments,
in setting, let's say the framework of quality, moral and ethical standards for the work that we are doing.

The European union has a much bigger outreach with their programs
than us also because we are having a different financial means.

But we are very complimentary in what we are doing.

So this corporation is I think a success story over many years.

And for the coming year, we have even more political support of our two institutions to work together and our
respective bosses have told us that there are several areas where we should cooperate even more intensively than now.

And one of the areas is certainly the area of youth work, where we would like to pursue what we call the European Use
Work Agenda, which is a whole set of measures to support and strengthen youth work in Europe, rather than just talking
about youth work as a method, we want to strengthen youth work and give it the place it deserves, in the society.

I think the other important areas we will work together in is of course, the overlap
between the European Year of Youth and and the Council of Europe campaign on democracy.

So youth participation would be a very important subject as well as youth research.

And of course, for the European youth partnership what is a very important area of work is the
research and the knowledge, bringing together the knowledge about young people, so that the
measures and policies that are created for young people really make a difference for their lives.

Ioannis: The Council of Europe is one of the EU strong partners for decades.

I would say without a moment's hesitation that the Council of Europe is our strongest
and closest partner when it comes to the development of youth policy in Europe.

Together, we have established and we support the youth partnership between our two institutions in
order to foster synergies between the priorities and programs pursued by each of us in the youth field.

Together, we have been focusing on youth research, youth policy and youth work.

The result of that corporation is a number of activities, additions, studies,
and networks for the support of youth policy in Europe with a positive feedback.

For the next years, our work plan defines a number of shared actions between the two organizations implementing in
parallel, the EU youth strategy and the Council of Europe youth strategy 2030, such as symposia, research projects.

In addition, supporting the general framework of cooperation.

We will invest a lot in that work plan, not only in the context of the Year of Youth, but mainly because we believe
that the development of European youth policy cannot be limited to the 27 member states of the European Union.

Evidence-based policy is the best way to support young people, especially in this very difficult period.

We are looking forward to further strengthening this corporation and
delivering together high quality results for the benefit of the youth sector.

Dariusz: Thank you, Ioannis.


And this podcast is actually one of the ways to make this work known to the wider audience.

We talked about European youth work strategy.

We talked about the youth research a lot, particularly about the various different topics related to youth research.

So I think we'll continue doing that.

I don't know Clotilde if you'd like to add something in the end about the youth partnership.

Clotilde: So, as it was said by both Antje and Ioannis, the youth partnership supports the European
Commission and the Council of Europe by producing and gathering knowledge in the field of youth to support
the implementation of their strategies, but also to feed and to inspire youth policymakers and practitioners.

And as a partnership, the focus is made on areas of common interest.

Youth work was mentioned.

And in 2022, we will further develop this pillar and strengthen our contribution to the European
Youth Work Agenda with research on recognition of skills and competencies of youth workers, with
new publications, information sharing at European level, and also support to the youth work sector.

Antje and Ioannis also talked about participation, which is also an important topic for the youth partnership.

And in 2022/23 we will also continue working on young people's participation
with a focus on social inclusion, gender and intersectionality.

We'll also continue working of course, on impact of COVID-19 on young people and the youth sector, digitalization.

And who will explore new topical issues such as the potential
and limits of artificial intelligence and digitalization.

And I invite you to visit our website, to find out more about our activities, and you will see that our work plan
is ambitious for the next two years, like the plants of the Council for Europe and the European Commission, I must
say with the European Year of Youth, 50th anniversary of the Council of Europe's youth sector and the campaign.

And at the youth partnership, we are very happy to be part of
this ambitious journey and to support all these plans and events.

Dariusz: Okay.

Thank you.

So a lot of things to come this year, both from the Council of
Europe and from the European Union and from the youth partnership.

We will of course post some links in the notes to this podcast, so people could follow both
the European Year of Youth that we mentioned, and also all the activities that will be
organized by the Council of Europe within the 50th anniversary and also other activities.

So thanks a lot, Ioannis.

Thanks a lot, Antje and Clotilde for being here and sharing.

and yeah.

Good luck for the future.